Frequently Asked Questions

GreenLight Power works with exciting new technologies like LED lighting, backup generation, and solar power. If you have general questions about these technologies and their applications, check here to see if we have a satisfactory answer in our frequently asked questions section. If the answer to your question is not found here, feel free to contact us directly, and we will do our best to respond to your inquiry.

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Does my solar array need batteries?

Most urban residential consumers tie their systems to the utility grid to keep costs low and power supply consistent. These types of systems do not require any batteries, but stop collecting power if the utility grid fails. If no utility grid is available or an uninterrupted power supply is desired, a battery bank can be used to store some solar energy for later use. A system that never connects to the utility grid at all is called off-grid and relies on batteries every day, while a system that switches between the two mentioned modes is called utility interactive. Utility interactive systems use the energy in the stored batteries only when it makes sense, keeping them fully charged and ready the rest of the time.

Why do some solar panels shut down during a power failure?

Grid-tied solar systems feed power directly into the grid through your two way electric meter. When the power supply from the grid is interrupted, a grid-tied system will detect this change and disconnect itself, so that it no longer supplies extra power to the grid. This is a safety feature which allows your utility company to fix the problem without being endangered by the electricity that your system would otherwise produce. A utility interactive system handles power outages differently, by switching to an off-grid battery operation mode, allowing an uninterrupted power supply for your property while ensuring that the power you generate is safely contained.

Can my solar modules be damaged by hail?

Solar modules are designed to withstand a range of extreme weather conditions including hailstorms - even in spite of large hailstones travelling at high speeds. In the event that a solar module was damaged by inclement weather, each panel that we install carries a full manufacturers warranty.

Does the angle of my roof matter? What about snow?

In Calgary and southern Alberta, the maximum collection potential of a panel is realized when it is oriented towards the south, and tilted to about a 45 degree angle. This angle also helps gravity keep your panels clear of snow in the winter months. For this reason, a flat roof usually requires special mounting systems to provide sufficient inclination. For structural reasons, a sloped roof usually has solar modules mounted parallel to the pitch of the roof. This means that a large, sloping, south face without any shade is the ideal spot to place an array of solar panels. Panels installed facing east or west can be expected to produce 20-30% less power, while panels oriented north, or whose direct sun is obstructed by shade, will lose even more collecting potential. While this can be offset by adding more modules to the system, the lowest cost per watt can only be achieved with smart array design and module orientation. Does your property have a sweet spot for solar? Apply to have your property evaluated and find out!

Does a solar collection system add resale value to my home?

Due to the quickly developing nature of this market, detailed statistical studies of this question are just now becoming possible. Preliminary studies of data coming from the larger California market show that solar collection systems are contributing resale equity per watt that is roughly equivalent to the average system cost per watt. This is another trend that makes solar a great way to invest in your future.

Is there an immediate way to offset the cost of solar?

Currently, the government, through Energy Efficiency Alberta, is offering a rebate of $0.75 per watt up to $10,000 for solar arrays with south-facing panels. More information can be found on the Energy Efficiency Alberta website.

What is the process like for installing solar?

The first step in the process is interest. Once a customer has expressed interest, and has provided us with their power bill and a few pictures of their electrical panel, we are able to formulate quote for them detailing various financial and logistical aspects of the installation. From there, we book a physical site evaluation to iron out details. If the customer still wishes to procede, we apply for the EEA grant on their behalf, and once the grant application has been processed, we install the arrays and procede with the requisite permits.